Instagram users will be able to post and share NFTs as soon as this week.
Meta’s NFT move will be powered by Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution, Polygon, and available to select creators, the company revealed in a video posted by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Support for NFTs on the Solana and Flow blockchains will be available soon, Meta said.
Zuckerberg said the social media giant will start with Instagram and then move to Facebook, with potentially some of Meta’s other products included down the line. He additionally mentioned creating augmented reality NFTs for Instagram stories via Spark AR, a Meta-owned augmented reality effects software.
NFTs have become a multi-billion dollar industry, worth $41B in sales last year according to Chainalysis. Now Meta’s 3.64 billion monthly users will have access to this explosive corner of crypto, potentially adding fuel to an already explosive market.
“We wanted to start small and learn from the community,” explained Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram. “Web3 is all about distributing trust and power, but Instagram is fundamentally a centralized platform so there is tension.”
The move follows a hectic week in the crypto and NFT markets. It also follows widespread criticism of Meta’s recent plan to keep 47.5% of each individual NFT sale in Horizon Worlds, its metaverse platform. It’s not clear whether or not buying and selling digital assets will be available on Instagram, much less what the fees would be.
In January, Meta competitor Twitter enabled hexagonal ownership-verified NFT profile pictures for their Twitter Blue customers. While Twitter has not released statistics on Twitter Blue users, it’s become a popular trend throughout tech Twitter. Many are quick to criticize Meta’s move into crypto, but it may simply have no choice.
“It’s a no-brainer,” SuperRare founder John Crain told The Defiant. “Their original business model is being around creatives not being able to directly monetize their content, and NFTs completely changed that. They’re in a situation where it’s innovate or become obsolete.”
Although the NFT market is down along with crypto, many are still bullish on NFTs.
“2021 might have been the year of NFTs, but 2022 is most likely the year we see it go mainstream for the general public,” tweeted web3 designer Kaz Tamai.